Friday, 17 August 2018

Best Rome Day Trips - Easy and Fun Day Trips from Rome

When planning your trip to Italy, Rome is top of the 'list' for tourists to visit. But once you have 'done' the major sights in the beautiful Eternal City, where would you go to take a day trip into the Rome countryside?
The train system is very efficient in Italy and you do not have to travel far to experience something authentically Italy and have a great day out.

As it is often hard to choose where to go for your Rome Day Trip.....I wanted to give you 2 Guides to Rome Day Trips: We have included both Martha's Tips, called '6 Rome Day Trips' and Guido's Guide called '5 Best Rome Day Trips' ( see below):

Italian Travel Expert: Martha has a list of her favourite places to visit:

You don't have to go all the way to Pompeii to walk on ancient Roman roads, visit Ostia Antica

As an eight generation Roman, here is Guido's (my) guide on the 5 Best Rome Day Trips in the Sabine Hills and closer to Rome:

The Sabine Hills, an unknown and very beautiful place to visit- an easy Day Trip from Rome

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Martha's Visit to the Sabine Hills, just north of Rome

First stop, our local medieval hilltop village of Castelnuovo di Farfa 

It was a real pleasure introducing Martha and James, to some of the hidden villages of the Sabine Hills. We have been in contact with Martha, an Italian travel expert, for many years, but this was the first time we had a chance to show our friends around. 

Martha and James at Farfa Abbey with us

Martha has travelled to all of Italy’s 20 regions and is passionate about sharing her vast travel experiences with others. Find out what she wrote about her day with us in her newsletter:

Martha and James also visited Toffia, where our 3 and 5 night cooking holidays are held

Read about Martha and James visit on Martha's Italy

Thanks so much for coming along and it was a real pleasure showing you the Sabine Hills. We hope you will be back to join us again on your next visit to Italy.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Italian Springtime Salad with Fennel, Orange and Olives : 'Insalatina di finocchi, arancia e olive'

Here is a simple Italian salad recipe that I make at this time of the year.  This salad is so easy to make, full of fresh flavours, and will only take you 5 minutes to prepare.

In Italian it is called 'Insalatina di finocchi, arancia e olive' meaning 'Italian Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad'. It combines some wonderful flavours: fresh and crispy fennel, juicy sweetness of the orange, and the salty full flavour of local olives (black olives are best to use).
My own 'Insalatina di finocchi, arancia e olive'
using blood and local oranges, our own cured olives, plus locally grown fennel

½ - 1 fennel
2 oranges peeled (blood orange and / or navel oranges)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (Sabina D.O.P.)
1 large handful of black olives, (gaeta, leccino, carboncella, suggested varieties)
Pinch of fine sea salt, to taste

Chop your fennel in long thin strips, along the grain of the fennel. Cut your juicy ripe peeled oranges into cubes. Add both the fennel and the orange pieces along with a handful of black olives into a bowl.  Drizzle over a healthy amount of olive oil ( please only use extra virgin olive oil, as it is the best!) and sprinkle over some salt, to taste. Mix all the ingredients together and serve chilled.

Please tell me what you think.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Aglio, olio e peperoncino - Chef Guido's Classic Roman Pasta Dishes

Aglio, olio e peperoncino
This is the quickest pasta sauce to make and it tastes delicious. This is the classic Roman pasta dish I make for my family when I use what ingredients we already have in the cupboard. No need to go and shop, plus it is very fast to make. 
You can make it as hot as you like, just add or reduce the chilli you use.

Ingredients (serves 6): extra virgin olive oil, garlic, 2 garlic cloves, fresh chilli.

Method: Fry 2 bruised garlic cloves and a small fresh chilli in olive oil until the garlic is golden brown. Take out the garlic and mix the sauce in with cooked ‘aldente’ pasta. 

(Pasta shapes traditionally used: bucatini, spaghetti)

Dried Pasta: 80-100g per serving

Chef Guido's Tip: "top with a little fresh parsley"

Friday, 16 March 2018

Carbonara Pasta - fast, tasty Roman cuisine

Carbonara is a symbol of Rome’s cuisine and one of my favourite fast pasta dishes to make.
'Spaghetti alla carbonara' served with ground black pepper and topped with extra Guanciale

Ingredients: (serves 6)
50g of guanciale (cured pork cheek), 50 g of pecorino romano cheese, black pepper, 4 eggs, extra virgin olive oil.
Dried Pasta: 80-100g per serving

Method: Cut the guanciale into short sticks. Put a little olive oil in a pan and fry guanciale until crispy. Whisk the eggs in a bowl with pecorino cheese, black pepper and a pinch of salt. When pasta is cooked, drain the pasta, put it back in the hot pot and mix all the ingredients until the eggs acquire a creamy consistency, without scrambling. Serve immediately and with extra pepper on top.

Pasta shapes traditionally used for Carbonara are spaghetti or  rigatoni.

Chef Guido's Tips:
Tip 1: This sauce is very quick, and when ready needs to be stirred into the cooked 'aldente' spaghetti and served immediately.
Tip 2: If guanciale is not available you can use pancetta instead

If you like this recipe, please download Guido's FREE 5 minute Roman Pasta Recipe Booklet

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Immersed in Olives and Sabina Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The lives of my family and I are intertwined with the local Sabina extra virgin olive oil. We are not only surrounded by olive trees, we grow, harvest, take the olives to press to make our own extra virgin olive oil and make local cures using our own herbs mixed in olive oil...we also cure and eat our olives whole. Extra virgin olive oil is an essential ingredient in all my Italian cooking classes and Italian Culinary Holidays. In other words, we are immersed in olives and olive oil, inside and out!  Our local Sabina extra virgin olive oil often referred to as 'liquid gold' as it is recognised to have many healing properties. The olive itself is a symbol of peace and longevity, and it has often been used as a base for medicines because of its healing powers.
Visiting the 'L'Olivone', the Largest Olive Tree in Europe, is the first stop on your Rome Olive Tour
When in Rome.....come for a visit to the Sabine Hills with us to find out more about this amazing fruit, that has a long long history and is entwined with the local culture, here in the Roman countryside. I run Rome Olive Tours all year round. Rome Olive Tours with Convivio Rome

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Friday, 16 February 2018

How to cure olives, the Italian way

I've just finished the process of curing our own olives using the simplest local recipe from the Sabine Hills. It is so easy, that I wanted to share the local secrets on how to cure olives.

The olives (a 'carboncella' native Italian variety) collected from one of our trees back in December, were put inside a bowl, under layers of sea salt for 60 days.

Covered with large sea salt for 60 days

After rinsing off all the sea salt I left the olives to dry for 2 days on a cotton towel 

Then, I simply rinsed the olives and left them to dry on several cotton towels. I turned them every now and then to ensure they dried well.

I then chopped some orange peel and some garlic until I had a small handful of this mixture.

Finally, I put the cured olives in jars, mixing them with the orange peel and garlic and  finally covered them with our own olive oil. Fatto (done)!
Making sure all the olives are covered with extra virgin olive oil

PS: Nothing is ever wasted: for once all the olives are eaten, the olive oil from the jars can be re-used for dressing or cooking, with its wonderful flavour of orange and garlic.

Every Italian region have their own local recipes and methods on how to cure olives.

Let me know what way you cure olives as I would love to hear from you.

Convivio Rome conducts Rome Olive Tours, Italian Cooking Classes, 3 and 5 night Italian Culinary Vacations and Wine tours, all in the Sabine Hills, just north of Rome in Italy.